Welcome back! I’m excited that so many of you have joined me in this project.
I know I promised to send out the weekly email on Sunday evening. It’s now Monday morning, and I’m just writing this post for week 2. Part of my plan for this year is to be more kind to myself and expect excellence, but not perfection. So, while I had every intention of writing this post over the weekend, some family stuff came up, so I’m giving myself grace and getting it written this morning instead. I appreciate your patience with me, and I hope you’ll keep that concept in mind and give yourself some grace as well. I strongly believe that we are doing the best we can. If I remember that, I’m much more kind to myself and to the people around me.
If you just stumbled upon this post, you can read more about the Project Me Series here:
How did you do with the commitments you set for yourself in week one? Did you put yourself on your to-do list? I did well on all 3 of my commitments.
On the journey to living a healthy life, inside and out, three elements are necessary: Nutrition, Fitness, and Mindset. Often people focus on the first two and can’t figure out why they aren’t losing weight, or why they lose and then can’t sustain it. We’ll be talking about all 3 of these often throughout the next year.
Each week, I’m going to review how my week went in these 3 areas because each one is so important, and I want a written record that I can look back on to assess what is working and what is not so I can make adjustments as I go. I recommend you do the same. At the end of each week, ask yourself:
- What went well?
- What is one thing that didn’t work this week that I can adjust for next week?
It’s so important to recognize what went well. In fact, I try to stay to a 3 to 1 ratio. For every 3 things that went well, I come up with one thing that didn’t and make adjustments to that the next week.
My workouts went well this week. I’m currently doing the 21 Day Fix three days a week and running the other 3. I’m totally a wannabe runner, and walk more than I run, but I’m determined to run a half marathon in 2016, so I’m starting out slowly. My eating was on track all week long until the weekend hit. I’m doing a combo of the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan and Carb Cycling. Sunday was supposed to be one of my low-carb days, but I ended up eating potatoes at dinner and also had dessert.
I believe that life is meant to be fun, and that includes enjoying fun foods occasionally, so I didn’t let Sunday throw me off track. I’m just adjusting my eating schedule this week and throwing in an extra low-carb day.
Weight Loss: -3 lbs. this week.
I have a goal to lose 50 pounds before my next birthday, so I’m weighing every Friday. That being said, it’s very important to find other ways to measure your progress besides the scale. I’ve written about that several times, so I’ll just refer you to those posts:
Now, onto week 2!
Most of us focus constantly on what we should or shouldn’t eat, but how you eat is just as important. My focus for week 2 is to eat mindfully.
Let’s start by defining mindfulness. It is deliberately paying attention to what is happening inside of you, outside of you, and all around you. It is simply being aware, but not criticizing or judging anything you notice.
That last sentence is very important. In mindful eating we are not comparing ourselves to anyone else. We are simply noticing the sensations and thoughts that come up as we eat.
When you’re eating, pay attention to all 5 of your senses. Notice the color, the smell, the texture, the flavor, the temperature, and even the crunch of your food.
Even more important, pay attention to your body. Before you eat, ask yourself if you feel hungry. If so, where do you feel it in your body? Did the hunger start in your mind? Or did it start in your body? Do you know how to tell when you’re starting to get full? What does half full feel like?
What are you thinking about while you’re eating? What are you feeling when you’re eating? Do you notice if your mind gets distracted? Do you immediately sit down to eat and look for some other diversion like the TV or your phone?
5 Mindfulness Tips
I don’t know about you, but my life is B.U.S.Y. I often eat on the run, or sit down to eat while doing something else and before I know it my meal is gone and I almost couldn’t even tell you what or how much I ate. Sound familiar?
Slowing down when you eat is one of the healthiest things you can do. It allows you to tune into your body and stop when you’re full, and you chew your food more which makes it easier to digest. A couple tips for slowing things down:
- Put your fork down between bites
- If you want to read and eat, don’t do both at the same time. Read a page, then put the book down and eat a few bites, savoring the tastes.
Make Mealtime Special
Most families, mine included, eat dinner sitting in front of the TV or with everyone looking at their phones. Instead, set the table — heck, you can even go all out and use napkins. Consider making family mealtime an electronics-free zone.
Make sure you’re not eating on the run all the time, or standing at the counter devouring something from a package.
Occasionally, it’s nice to eat alone. Have a daily ritual where you sit down with a snack or cup of tea and savor some quiet time.
Be Aware of Your Senses
Paying attention to your food is a great way to start eating mindfully. Tastes, textures, and even sounds are amazing when you take the time to notice.
One of my favorite tips is to stop eating when a food no longer tastes fantastic. This is especially helpful when eating dessert. Often the first 2-3 bites are the best. Stop there. Fun food is meant to be joyful, so once it stops feeling like joy, stop eating and save yourself the calories.
Enjoy Your Food and Stop When You’re Full
One of the common reasons I hear from clients I work with for overeating is that they just love the taste of food. How about, rather than overeating because it tastes so good, you SLOW down and actually taste every single bite? Take smaller bites. If you make a plate of food last for 20 bites instead of 10, you’ll get to taste it twice as many times and get more enjoyment out of what you’re eating.
Stay Focused and Enjoy Your Food
One of the greatest benefits to mindful eating is that you’ll stop when you’re full. It’s way harder to overeat when you’re paying attention to what, and how much, you’re eating. Periodically check in to your hunger level so you don’t eat past the full point. It’s vitally important to know what hunger feels like and whether your hunger started in your mind or in your body. [This will be especially important when we talk about emotional eating in a few weeks.]
Mindful eating is very similar to meditation, in that you’ll find your attention wandering. When you notice your mind thinking about something other than the food right in front of you, gently bring it back to what you’re eating.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
So, I know you might be thinking this sounds like just one more thing to add to your already “full plate” of things to do. I promise it’s not that hard to do, and it has a lot of benefits:
- You learn to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied.
- You learn to taste your food and appreciate the unique flavors of healthy food.
- You start to realize that unhealthy food doesn’t taste as good as you thought.
- You often eat less and as a result lose weight.
- You become aware of your reasons for eating and can address emotional issues if they are present.
Pick Your Mindful Eating Homework
I strongly encourage you to avoid all or nothing thinking in every area of your life, so I would suggest focusing on just one aspect of mindful eating this week.
- Take your first three bites mindfully, setting your fork down between each one.
- During one meal each day, focus on all five of your senses and see what you notice about the food.
- Every time before you eat, check in on your hunger levels. Is the hunger coming from your body or your mind?
- If you find yourself standing up to eat, sit down instead.
- Don’t eat in front of the TV this week.
I’m personally going to focus on my hunger this week. I’m going to rate it on the hunger scale I use and also make sure the hunger starts in my body, not my mind, to avoid emotional eating.
Join the Conversation
I’d love to hear how last week went for you. Did you make 3 commitments? Did you keep them?
Have you ever focused on mindful eating? Which practice above do you think would be most helpful for you?
Bullet Journal Updates
If you'd like to receive my latest Bullet Journal posts, store discounts, and fun freebies via email, leave your email below.